In a case legal experts say will redefine public corruption, two former California government officials were convicted on Tuesday of misappropriating taxpayer money, paying themselves inflated salaries, and doing little work in return. The LA Times has the story:
During the month-long trial, prosecutors used a novel legal argument that Lynwood officials broke the law by accepting tens of thousands of dollars in stipends for sitting on city commissions that appeared to do little, if any, work—an arrangement Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Hassett called “clearly a scam.”The added pay boosted the part-time council members’ income from less than $10,000 a year to as much as $112,000 in one year for Louis Byrd and $72,000 for Fernando Pedroza, prosecutors said. . . .“This is a violation of the public trust, and that is most disturbing to this court,” Superior Court Judge John T. Doyle said as he ordered the two men into custody.
Public officials across the country take notice: cheating taxpayers is becoming an increasingly dangerous game.